BA vs Virgin Atlantic: Travel expert films his experiences in premium economy on flights to and from the U.S using two popular UK carriers to see if it’s worth the extra money
It’s one of life’s big questions – for plane passengers, anyway. Is premium economy actually worth it?
There’s no lie-flat seat. There’s no privacy door. But there is often a fairly significant increase in price compared to plain old economy.
To help answer the question Nicky Kelvin, the head of The Points Guy UK, puts the premium economy cabins from two of the UK’s most popular carriers – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic – head to head in a video battle.
Nicky flies in a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-900neo from London Heathrow to Tampa, paying 22,500 Virgin Points and £394 in taxes and fees.
The seat has a pitch (the distance between the seat and the seat in front) of 38 inches, a width of 18.5 inches, a 13.3-inch entertainment screen and the seats are laid out in a 2-3-2 formation.
Nicky Kelvin (above) from The Points Guy UK flies with Virgin from Heathrow to Tampa on an Airbus A330-900neo
Food for thought: Nicky’s premium economy Virgin Atlantic meal
Nicky reveals that Virgin’s premium economy cabin seats have wireless charging
The mugs got the experience off to a good start.
Nicky told MailOnline Travel: ‘Virgin Atlantic offered lovely real mugs for the all-important British cup of tea. Also, there was a dedicated premium snack selection in the galley, wireless charging and the entertainment screen was large and crystal clear.’
On the downside, Nicky revealed that no amenity kit was offered on his daytime flight (Virgin only offers these on night flights) and the headphones were not noise cancelling.
Nicky’s Airbus A330-900neo being prepped for departure at Heathrow
On the way back, Nicky flies in a BA 777-200 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow, paying 10,400 Avios plus £412 in taxes and fees for a berth in the ‘World Traveller Plus’ cabin, which is BA-speak for premium economy. Fares start from £706 without Avios.
The seat shares Virgin’s pitch and width – 38 inches and 18.5 inches respectively – but has a smaller entertainment screen, measuring 12 inches.
Nicky flies in a BA 777-200 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow, paying 10,400 Avios plus £412 in taxes and fees for a berth in the ‘World Traveller Plus’ cabin
BA’s premium economy seats (above) share Virgin’s pitch and width – 38 inches and 18.5 inches respectively
The layout, meanwhile, is 2-4-2.
‘Paper cups for tea didn’t satisfy my British soul,’ lamented Nicky. ‘And there were no dedicated snacking options, only the water, juice and biscuits in the galley – the same offering for economy passengers.’
There were some wins, though.
Nicky praises the British Airways premium economy breakfast, describing it as ‘very comprehensive’
Nicky added: ‘An amenity kit was offered even though this was a day flight. Breakfast can often be a “lesser” meal on flights, but this BA World Traveller Plus breakfast was very comprehensive.
‘Plus, the seat was very comfortable and spacious. Even though the aircraft was older, the product inside was new and fresh.’
Click here to see the full video. For more information on travel tips and tricks, sign up to The Points Guy UK.
Nicky’s BA 777-200 at the gate at Newark Liberty International Airport